March 13th 2009
The bass was loud, so loud I could feel it rumble through my stomach and the vibrations from the ground. A empty cup on the small side table rumbled, but the sound was easily drowned out. I strummed my fingers on my thigh and closed my eyes. I could get lost in the sound of this voice, deep and raspy but so smooth at the same time. It was so clear even over the the music.
He stood tall at the microphone in the center of the makeshift stage area. He held the cord to it tightly wrapping it around his forearm, his eyes shut tightly completely lost in the music. His long hair was matted down with sweat on his forehead but he didn't seem to be bothered by it. The three guys behind him were in similar motion. The symbol on the drums sound off and the music faded off. I heard rounds of claps from the few other people in the small basement.
He unwrapped the cord from his arm and set the microphone but on the stand and walked over to me extending his arms wrapping them around my neck.
“How was it?” It was good and he knew it, I could tell by the huge smile on his face, but I'd tell him so reassure him.
“Amazing, really it was,” I pulled him closer despite his shirt sticking to his chest from sweat.
“Do you think were ready for that gig?”
“There 'gonna love you guys Leo!” He kissed my forehead and smiled before backing away to put away some things.
“Hey Evan can you grab that amp?” Someone asked from behind me. I think it was Ben the drummer who was always all about business.
“Okay..” I replied wearily and walked over to unplug all the different cords. I gripped the handle trying to remember how your supposed to lift heavy objects. Do you bend your knees, or is that bad for your back? I opted for the drag method.
“Oh god kill me now Evan, what are you doing dragging that?” I smiled sheepishly at Quin.
“It was heavy,” I defended. Quin was the tallest one out of all of them but was skinnier then even me.
“Who asked you to get this? There crazy look at those noodle arms of yours!” I looked at his arms which were slimmer then mine and far more noodle-y.
“Ben did.” He rolled his eyes and went to pick it up but struggled and continued to drag it across the floor.
“But you said-” He put his finger to his lips and smirked.
“Dammit Quin what the hell are you doing! Do you know how expensive that is? How many hours at that burger grease pit I clocked in to get that?” Brady was shorter but was by far the most muscular out of all the guys. He picked it up easily and carried it up the narrow steps disappearing into the doorway.
“Any who,” Quin brushed off being scolded quickly and put his arms around my waist and spun around, “Didn't that sound fucking awesome!” When you spend as much time with these guys as I have you become accustomed to there narrow vocabulary.
“Best performance yet,” I grabbed my sweatshirt off the back of a chair and we walked upstairs.
The air outside was chilly, winter was just setting in and it was coming on strong. I got into the passenger side of the small lincoln town car and waited rubbing my hands together for warmth. I pushed on the overhead light and rummaged through the pile of coats and clothes on the backseat. The trunk opened while the guys loaded some equipment then closed it. Leo hopped in the driver seat and started the ignition immediately turning the heat on.
“What are you looking for?”
“I thought I left my grey jacket here last week, I'm just getting cold.”
“I took it out last night to give to you,” He smiled innocently and grabbed a dark blue sweatshirt from the back and handing it to me, “Then I forgot it,” I laughed pulling it over my head thankful for the extra warmth.
“So you really thought we sounded good?” Leo asked his face coming closer to mine, I could feel his warm breath on my cheek. I filled in the distance putting my lips on his.
“Mhm,” I mumbled, his hand going to the small of my back.
“Lets go driver!” Quin barged in not even bothering to move the clothes, just sat on top of them.
“If I had a nickle for every moment you've ruined,” Leo chuckled turning back around to face front.
“Yeah, yeah you'd be a rich man!” Quin waved him off, Leo started driving out of the driveway of Quin's house, where the boys practice. “Wait! I told Ben we'd give him a ride home!”
“You promised someone I'd give them a ride without even asking?”
“Well I usually do but my cars in the shop,” Quin put his hands up in defense. I knew Leo wasn't really mad about driving Ben home, there all best friends. Ben knocked loudly on the backseat window and pointed down to the car door lock. Leo cracked open the window.
“Dance for me baby!” He yelled out. Ben rolled his eyes angrily.
“I'm not dancing just let me in it's freezing!”
“Don't be a Debby downer just shook your booty!”
“Screw you guys I'd rather walk,” Ben turned around and walked in to the opposite direction.
“Dude always has a stick up his ass,” Quin commented. Leo sighed and drove slowly so he was next to Ben who was hastily walking away.
“The doors unlocked just get in,” Leo said. Ben looked back and forth from all of our faces trying to decide if we were lying, eventually he gave in and opened the unlocked door and sat down.
“The Benson twins are having a party,” Quin said wiggling his eyebrows, “You in? They have a pool!”
“No,” Ben said loudly, “You're not going to some crazy party and getting trashed we have one of the most important gigs of our lives tomorrow,” He finished crossing his arms.
“Exactly so why not get all loose for it, besides I play best hungover,” Quin said smiling to himself.
“I beg to differ,” Ben's dark brown looked perfectly placed and combed, unlike Leo and Quin's hair which was messy and wet looking from sweating while playing.
“What the hell is your problem!” Quin yelled to ben throwing his hands up in the arm.
“Calm down kids or I'll turn this car around!” It was nothing out of the ordinary for Ben to be arguing with someone. “I'll drive you home Ben so you can be on your A game for tomorrow and Quin and I will go to the library to study instead of going to the party, sound good?”
“Like you guys would ever go to the library, I don't care what you do. You guys can go get drunk and do god knows what but don't complain to me tomorrow and don't screw our chances tomorrow.”
“So you don't want to come?” Quin asked with a sarcastic smile on his lips. Ben just rolled his eyes and stared out of the window. We drove up to his house and he got out without as much as a goodbye.
“If he wasn't so damn good at the drums he'd be gone in a split second,” Quin mumbled angrily.
“Don't say that, he's our best friend,” Leo said in a even tone. Quin sighed in agreement but I could tell by the look on his face he didn't agree with Leo at all.
We were all dysfunctional, but we were family. All of us including Bed when he wanted to be. Quin was the friend I went to when I needed to be cheered up and always put a smile on my face. I went Brady for advice either on school problems or problems me and Leo were having, he was always so insightful and always knew the answers. Ben tutored me in Chemistry for an hour last year before getting fed up and opted to just do my homework and text me the answers for tests during class, which I greatly appreciated.
Leo and I sat on the couch with our legs crossed facing each other, people were all around us dancing or drinking. He held my hands loosely in his and was smiling at me in that way where only the one side of mouth twitched up, that was my smile. I could walk into a room with a million other people and he would give me that smile and I knew he saw me. That smile let me know that even when he was surrounded by all the people that flocked to him he only wanted to be sitting there with me.
“In just a few months we'll be college together getting our higher education and all that,” He said standing up. “We'll go to the library together and while you study I'll just bug you till you make me leave, and we'll get coffee together together like all those mature couples out there” I scrunched my nose up.
“I hate coffee,” I stated.
“Scratch that I don't want to be that mature boring couple, we can get smoothies together and then jump rope outside!” He pulled me from the couch and wound his arm around my back. “Dance with me.”
“Oh I don't know mister I mean I barely know you,” I joked.
“Then I guess I'll have to use force,” He slung me over his shoulders and walked to where the majority of people were dancing.
“Leo my ass is hanging out!” I yelled in between fits of laughter. I'm sure the back view of this wasn't too pleasant with my low rise jeans.
“Just the way I like it!” He bent over and placed me on my feet then stuck his hand out for me to take.
“My lady, may I have this dance,” He asked with a curtsy.
“Of course,” I placed my hand in his and he pulled me close to him.
“Leo man they want us to play a song or a two!” Quin said squeezing in between us, “Sorry Evan you don't mind do you?”
“No not at all,” I replied shaking my head.
“Great lets go!” Quin said happily running off expecting Leo to be right at his heels.
“You sure you don't mind?” He asked.
“I'm positive really I like watching you guys play,” I answered honestly, he brushed a piece of hair out of my face and smiled before walking away. I watched the guys mount the stage and and get ready.
“How you guys doing out there?” Leo said into the microphone with Brady right next to him to share the mic when his parts came. Quin was off to the side with his guitar hanging from his shoulders swinging his arms all around like a little kid.
“So what do you guys want to hear?” Leo asked the crowd, a wide range of their songs were called out ranging from their old ones from freshmen year to the newest one they created just last week. The guys were pretty well known where were from and everyone knew and loved their music. The one they heard the most was called Primadonna it was from earlier this year and one of my favorites as well. It was funny and clever and about Susie Whitman whom Leo despised.
Leo turned around for an okay from Quin and Brady, who both nodded.
“Okay Primadonna is it!” The crowd became quiet in anticipation.
“Because she is a primadonna soon to be a teenage momma,” He sang in his raspy voice smiling at the lyrics. When he saw me in the crowd the side of his mouth shot up for his signature smile.
“Brady can you give Quin a ride home?” Leo asked.
“Yeah no problem,” He said, “Remember be at Dead Man's at 5,” Dead Man's was one of the only clubs in little Stonebrooke Ohio. The guys have been trying to get a gig there for years and finally they got a connection and got a time slot.
“Wouldn't miss it!” He grinned, “You ready?” He asked me. The second we sat in his car he grabbed out his marble notebook full of lyrics that he brings everywhere and started jotting down notes.
“Whatcha writing?” I asked.
“Just some lyrics I just thought of,” He finished writing them tossed it on the backseat.
“Can I see them?” I already knew the answer.
“Not until there done you know that,” We pulled up in front of my house, all the rooms were dark not even the outside light on.
“Is anyone home?” Leo asked uneasily.
“No probably not.”
“Want me to come in and keep you company?”
“I'm fine besides you must be beat go home and sleep,” I leaned over to kiss him goodbye but when I went to get out he put his hand on my knee.
“You know I love you right?” He was watching me closely.
“I know,” I replied smiling then turned to walk into my house.
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